SWAN NEWSLETTER #92
January 14, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Authority Board Members – Resolution #14-01 This resolution was to signify the intention for the authority to increase the number of its board members from the current five to seven. The resolution was adopted. The Board of Supervisors will need to take action to formalize this change.
January 14, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher
Village of Linglestown Polly Murphy, who is the leader of the Linglestown 250th Anniversary Committee, made a presentation to the board on the extensive planning underway for the town’s celebration scheduled for October 9 through 11, 2015. She reviewed the many activities planned and listed all the local organizations, schools, clubs, etc. that are already on board for next year’s celebration.
Linglestown Clock The Colonial Park Rotary Club has a project underway to provide and install a 12 foot tall freestanding four sided clock in the northwest quadrant grass area in the Linglestown Square. The area is in the township and state highway right-of-way and efforts are underway to get the needed approvals to locate the clock there. VoTech school students have prepared drawings of the clock and will landscape the area. Engraved pavers to be located around the clock will be sold.
Heroes Grove Planning and fundraising efforts continue for the construction of an outdoor amphitheater at the western end of Brightbill Park adjacent to the Friendship Center property. A $200,000.00 state grant has been approved and Phase 1 of the project, earthmoving and site preparation, is scheduled to begin soon.
The Heroes Grove Committee’s continuing concern has been for adequate parking near the site. Repeated efforts by the committee’s planning professional to discuss an agreement with the owners of the adjacent Colonial Commons Shopping Center to allow a portion of their lot next to the site to be used for occasional overflow public parking have been unsuccessful. They expect the problem may be the shopping center’s concern for the potential for liability if they agree to allow parking on their property by an outside group. The committee is concerned about starting construction without a resolution to the parking situation. The question was raised whether the township could help and the solicitor advised the board that the township cannot legally indemnify the committee. The only advice the solicitor could give was for the committee to secure liability insurance in case any of their patrons has a problem in the center’s parking lot.
Rezoning A question was raised regarding the possibility of rezoning a 7.3 acre parcel on the north side of Jonestown Road* opposite the end of Nyes Road from CN commercial to R-2 or R-3 residential. The parcel has single family homes to the east and west of it and commercial use to the north and south. The board reaction was that the parcel could remain commercial along Jonestown Road and possibly residential with single family homes and townhouses on the remainder of the tract but with no apartments. They recommended that the matter be reviewed first with the Planning Commission. (*This part of Jonestown Road is commonly referred to as “Old Jonestown Road”.)
Friendship Center Township Manager George Wolfe reviewed for the board the first steps that are being taken by the Operating Board to implement the four changes to the center’s operation that were recently agreed to toward increasing the center’s revenues. Explicit reports on the scheduling and cost estimates for each of the projects will be presented to the board in the near future.
Stormwater Management Plan Mr. Wolfe discussed with the board recent amendments to the Dauphin County Act 167 Plan which in turn have an effect on the Township’s Stormwater Management Plan. The involved act requires, for example, that the increase in the impervious coverage on a residential lot by 1000 square feet, typically the building of an in-ground swimming pool, now involves a professionally prepared stormwater management plan. This new legislation required the township to amend its ordinance and to generate new approval forms and procedures. Now new possible amendments have further complicated the approval issue with several additional options available to the township. The board has until May to decide if they want to again amend their ordinance to adopt these further provisions.
Lower Paxton Township Authority – Resolution #14-04 This resolution is to increase the sewer authority board members from five to seven as recently approved by the authority. The resolution was approved by the supervisors.
January 21, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Cancelled
The January 21st board meeting was cancelled due to bad weather. The agenda items listed for that meeting will be addressed at the beginning of the next regular meeting scheduled for February 4, 2014.
January 30, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Beaufort Hunt, Inc. – Docket #1350 This request was for a variance from the minimum side yard setback requirements at the property the hunt club hopes to purchase identified as 6660 Union Deposit Road. The property is in the AR Agricultural Zoning District. The 2 acre parcel which includes a barn and a garage has been rented by the club for 29 years to house their hunting hounds.
The club wishes to purchase the tract so they can improve the buildings and continue to use it for their dogs. The property owners have agreed to subdivide and sell the 2 acre parcel to the club from their 50 acre undeveloped tract. However the existing garage would extend 2 feet into the required 35 foot side yard setback so a variance was needed to allow the garage to remain. Their request for a variance was approved.
Old Navy – Docket #1351 Officials from this store located at the east end of the Colonial Commons Shopping Center at 5112 Jonestown Road were seeking a variance from the number and types of exterior wall signs permitted. The ordinance allows only one wall sign per store and this store already has one large sign above its entrance doors. Their request was to be allowed to place a lighted wall sign on the rear wall of their store which could be seen by traffic approaching the shopping center on Route 22 from the east and a lighted blade sign beside the main store entrance.
The board considered the two requests separately. No other store in the center has a blade sign extending from its store front and the board did not feel it was appropriate to allow this store to add one when it already had an adjacent large wall sign. The request was denied. The proposed lighted sign on the rear wall was not considered necessary to identify the store location and it was feared it could be a nuisance to the adjacent residential area. This request was also denied.
February 3, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING – Cancelled
The regular committee meeting scheduled for this date was cancelled due to the winter weather. The probable date for the rescheduled meeting is Monday, March 3rd at 2:30 pm in the township building.
February 4, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Community Engagement Committee The board approved the appointment of Tom Thomas to the vacant seat on this committee. Mr. Thomas also serves on the township’s Greenway Committee.
Spring Creek Sewer Project Change Order #2 for the Spring Creek 1E & 1G sanitary sewer trunk line replacement project in the amount of $367,500.00 covered the actual cost for the final phase of the project. Previously the budgeted cost for this phase was based on estimated quantities. The change order was approved.
Beaver Creek Sewer Project Change Order #1 for the Beaver Creek 6A, 6B and 6C sanitary sewer mini-basin replacement project reflected the staff’s recommendation that additional work be undertaken now to complete this project. The previous plan was to come back to complete the final phase sometime in the future. This $752,000.00 change order was approved.
Maser Consulting This firm has an agreement with the township to install and service the township’s new VueWorks GIS computerized management system for several of the township’s departments. An addendum to the agreement that would expand the system’s data base to also service the Sewer Department was included in this year’s budget. The board voted to approve the addendum.
Resolution #14-03 This resolution authorizing the destruction of old township financial records as allowed by law was approved.
Resolution #14-05 This resolution consistent with new regulations eliminating the state requirements for paying prevailing wages for small local highway and bridge projects and allowing the township to purchase used highway equipment without bidding was approved.
Robert Leo – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #13-17 This subdivision request was to divide the 3.5 acre property located in the R-1 Low Density Residential Zoning District on Lyters Lane east of 67th Street into two parcels. Each parcel contains an existing house. The proposed subdivision met the township requirements and was approved.
Sanitary Sewer Easement The deed of dedication of a sanitary sewer easement between Lower Paxton Township and the Lower Paxton Township Authority for facilities that will traverse township property in the Kings Crossing development met the code requirements and was approved.
Autumn Oaks Resolution #14-06 accepting the dedication to the township of certain public streets in Phase 1 of the Autumn Oaks project was approved.
February 5, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Project Action Items The committee carefully reviewed an extensive list of projects they had previously identified as items they had addressed or planned to address during 2014. They categorized them into Short Term Projects, Long Term Projects and Maintenance Projects and identified those they considered as priorities. Ongoing priority projects are the development of the proposed Oak Park and Nyes Run Trails.
Trail Walks The Parks & Recreation Department is organizing a series of guided one hour family friendly Sunday walks in the parks during the spring. The walks are scheduled for April 6th at Kohl Park, May 4th at George Park and June 1st along the Darlington Trail starting at Hocker Park.
Community Engagement Committee This group raising funds to support the township’s parks and recreation programs is organizing a 5K run to be held on Saturday, July 19th. With extensive publicity and planned related activities it is expected to attract several hundred runners and some walkers from the general area. It will probably begin and end at the Friendship Center.
Miscellaneous The committee is planning to investigate what would need to be done to make certain portions of some of the township trails handicapped accessible in compliance with ADA guidelines. They also want to investigate what trail surfaces are recommended to allow use of unpaved trails during wet weather. The planned grant application for the Safe Routes to Schools project was finished and has been submitted to the state. The committee plans to become involved with the group already planning next year’s Village of Linglestown 250th anniversary celebration.
February 5, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Election of Officers The board agreed to postpone election of officers until the March meeting. It is expected that in the coming months they may need to interview for a new member for the seven member board.
Oak Park Trail Further efforts are being made to create a township trail running from Oak Park Circle south across Locust Lane to the Osteopathic Hospital. Adjacent to the north end of the proposed trail is a several acre tract which for many decades has been a small private park with two baseball fields. The property is owned by the Community Club of Colonial Park which now consists of one person who maintains the property. The board invited him to attend this meeting and discuss the possibility of having the township acquire this existing park property. He indicated an interest. Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford said he would contact the township solicitor and begin the process to see what would be involved in a possible transfer of ownership of this property.
Park Insurance A question was raised regarding the township’s possible liability from any accident causing harm to anyone using one of the parks. Mr. Luetchford reviewed for the board that rental agreements for organizations using the fields requires them to be insured but it is not required for pavilion rentals or other uses. He said he would review the situation with the solicitor and see if any change to the current policy might be needed.
Updates Mr. Luetchford reviewed for the board the current activities of the Arts Council, the Greenway Committee and the Community Engagement Committee which are all part of the Parks & Recreation Department. He also updated them on the changes that will be made to the Friendship Center building and programs as a result of last year’s extensive reevaluation project.
Park Master Plan The department received copies of the completed Koons & Wolfersberger Park Master Plan that was developed over the past several years by the planning firm of Simone Collins. Half of the cost of the master plan was paid for by a DCNR matching state grant and Mr. Luetchford will begin to develop an application for a similar grant for the future actual construction project.
February 5, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION – Attended and reported by Bill Bostic
John DiSanto Subdivision John is seeking to make a minor lot-line adjustment for his personal residential property that abuts the Blue Meadows Farm housing community located about a mile north of Linglestown. The adjustment would add two-tenths of an acre to the residential lot so it includes improvements that now are on an adjoining open-space lot.
The commission recommended approval of the plan with two conditions: (1) The plan needs to show a stream that feeds the pond located on the open-space lot and (2) the township solicitor needs to review the plan in regard to a requested waiver from verifying that the plan meets the 40-percent open-space requirement for properties in Residential Cluster zoning districts. (John indicated that his residential property and three other properties that are part of a homeowners’ association never had 40-percent open space.)
Lupinetti Medical Building The owners of a building at 4240 Locust Lane that is used for a dentistry practice want to construct a stairwell to connect the first and second floors of the two-story structure. The building is located in a residential zoning district.
The commission was asked to make a recommendation to the township Zoning Hearing Board on an application for a special exception that is needed because the building expansion would add more than 5-percent of the existing floor space to a non-conforming commercial building.
The owner indicated in the application that the project complies with all requirements and the commission recommended approval of the special exception.
Interviews for Open Commission Seats The commission interviewed applicants for two commission seats that need to be filled. Applicants were John Gephart, Eric Kessler and two or three other people. Commission Chairman Fred Leighty planned to hold an executive session following the interviews to have the commission decide on which applicants to recommend to the township supervisors to fill the open commission seats.
February 11, 2014
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher
Park Master Plan Over the last several years the planning firm of Simone Collins has developed a master plan for the future development of Wolfersberger Park on Wenrich Street and the upgrading of Koons Park in Linglestown. The plan is now complete. The township has paid for the park master plan but half of the cost will be reimbursed to the township by the state through a DCNR grant. The board voted to formally approve the plan at their next business meeting in order to receive the grant funds.
Friendship Center At their meeting on February 10th the Friendship Center’s Operating Board brought up two items needing the supervisors’ action. One was to show support for the application for a state grant to provide the majority of the funds needed for the extensive improvements to the interior of the Senior Center. The board voted to provide the needed letter of support for the project. The other was to continue the approved plans to upgrade the center by purchasing the needed hardware for the on-line membership registration project and by hiring a professional to develop schematic plans for making interior physical changes as recommended by the study. The supervisors agreed to continue the upgrading project. The funds for these two expenses were approved.
Earl Drive Sam Robbins, Public Works Department Director, provided an in depth overview of the ongoing efforts to address the storm water flooding problem at the culvert under Earl Drive just west of Loop Drive. Severe storms have created flooding problems for some houses on the upstream side of the waterway and extensive engineering efforts have been made to determine how to deal with the problem. The only solution seems to be to replace the culvert at an estimated cost of close to $1 million. Mr. Robbins and Mr. Fleming from HRG, the township’s engineers, will provide more information on this matter at the March 11th workshop meeting.
Forest Hills For the board’s information, Mr. Robbins showed the board pictures of the interior of storm water pipes under the streets that were installed in about 1985 in the older section of the Forest Hills development. His department televised about one and a quarter miles of corrugated metal pipe and found many areas of pipe that were damaged by poor installation or were punctured by the later placement of buried electric or television lines. The estimated cost to replace the total network of pipes is around one and a half million dollars. This will be discussed again with Mr. Fleming at the next workshop session.
Fire Inspection A representative from a company that organizes municipalities’ fire inspections made a presentation describing the procedure of inspecting commercial properties and apartments once a year to check for fire hazards, inspecting sprinkler systems, etc. He pointed out that the inspection system can reduce insurance rates and reduces the number of fire calls the municipality has to answer in a year. The board did not indicate whether or not it might be interested in following up on this proposal.
Private Email Solicitor Steve Stine advised the board that provisions in the law limiting public officials from deciding government matters privately include the exchanging of personal emails. He cautioned the supervisors that private email records that are deleted from their private computers can still be retrieved by experts. He advised them not to use their personal computers for any form of township business.